In Coach Services v. Triumph Learning, Coach, Inc., the maker of luxury leather items, most notably leather bags, sued Triumph Learning, a provider of test preparation services under the Dilution Revision Act of 2006, for trademark dilution.
To make out a case for trademark infringement, the plaintiff must show that usage of the defendant’s mark would cause a likelihood of confusion for consumers. However, there is another cause of action available to some mark holders that does not require a showing of likelihood of confusion — one based on trademark dilution, the notion that the infringing mark blurs or tarnishes the plaintiff’s mark.
But one must show that the mark being diluted is “famous”.
In this case, the Federal Circuit threw the law suit out on the ground that “Coach” was not sufficiently “famous”.
While many people have heard of Coach-brand bags, many of us who are not fashion-conscious have not.
What are some examples of marks which may be famous?
Perhaps “Coca Cola”, “Tylonol”, “Microsoft”, “Chrysler”– all of which have acquired nearly universal brand awareness.